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Govt works to bring forward East-West Connection


Hon Simon Bridges
Minister of Transport

27 January 2016


Govt works to bring forward East-West Connection

The Government today announced its intention to streamline the consent process for the East-West Connection roading project in Auckland in order to bring forward its construction.

The project, estimated to cost between $1.25 and $1.85 billion, will provide a seamless link between the South-Western Motorway (SH20) and the Southern Motorway (SH1). It will also tackle congestion and provide more reliable travel times in and out of the Onehunga-Penrose industrial area, and between the eastern suburbs and the airport.

“The Onehunga-Penrose area is the engine room of New Zealand’s industrial and manufacturing economy and along with East Tāmaki and Auckland Airport employs over 130,000 people and generates $10 billion a year in GDP,” Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

“Many of our largest distribution and logistics facilities are based in the area, but its heavy congestion is slowing freight movements and restricting economic growth.

“The projected growth rates of Auckland – particularly Auckland Airport, Manukau City and East Tāmaki/Botany – will generate greater demand for cross city east-west traffic. That’s why the project is a real priority for Auckland and the Government is committed to completing it as quickly as possible.”

Mr Bridges says the Government regards the East-West Connection as a project of national significance.

“Ministers have agreed the project will go through a stream-lined consenting process this year to being forward its construction.

“That means a consenting decision will need to be made within nine months of application.

“Subject to approval, it’s the Government’s intention to fund the East-West Connection through the Land Transport Fund so construction can start as early as 2018.

“Officials will provide advice on how this process can be managed and achieved,” Mr Bridges says.

In the interim, the NZ Transport Agency will later this year start early project works on widening State Highway 20 between Neilson St and Queenstown Rd.

“These works are integral to the wider East-West Connection project and will support traffic growth when the Waterview Tunnels open,” Mr Bridges says.

Over the next three years, $4.2 billion will be invested in transport in and around Auckland. This includes:

· Completing the Western Ring Route by 2019.

· Opening the $200 million Te Atatu and Lincoln interchanges in March.

· Opening the $1.4 billion Waterview Connection early next year.

· Ongoing construction of the $1.3 billion Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative.

· $268 million to upgrade parts of the Southern Motorway by late 2018.

· Starting construction of the Northern Motorway Upgrade in 2018, connecting it with the Western Ring Route.

· Completion of the Northern Busway Extension through to Albany.

“These projects underscore the Government’s strong backing of Auckland,” Mr Bridges says.

“Given Auckland’s population is forecast to grow by more than 700,000 over the next 30 years, it’s important we have long-term solutions and agreement for the city’s transport system to ensure it remains a great place to live and do business.

“Next month the Foundation Report will be released, which is the first of three key deliverables from the Auckland Transport Alignment Project which is looking at the future of transport in the city.

“The report sketches out the joint view of the Government and Auckland Council on the current transport situation in the city, likely future trends and the desired outcomes,” Mr Bridges says.

“After receiving final recommendations later this year, we will then consider our preferred approach – including any changes to legislation and funding arrangements,” Mr Bridges says.

ends

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